Malcolm-Jamal Warner played Bill Cosby’s son, Theo, on the now-tarnished sitcom classic. For him, not only are the accusations against his TV dad difficult for the victims and their families, but it effectively ruins a show that had significant cultural impact particularly for showcasing the life of an African American family.
Warner expresses that he fears nothing can be done to fix it, as he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“My biggest concern is when it comes to images of people of color on television and film, no matter what… negative stereotypes of people of color, we’ve always had ‘The Cosby Show’ to hold up against that. And the fact that we no longer have that, that’s the thing that saddens me the most because in a few generations the Huxtables will have been just a fairy tale.”
Malcolm-Jamal said he’s talked to Cosby, but has chosen to keep the conversations private. Cosby’s “family, the women, their families, the legacy of the show,” have all been swallowed up by the allegations — which seem to grow by the day.
The legendary comic has admitted to having numerous extramarital affairs, but many women have recently come forward to accuse him of drugging and sexually assaulting them. Bill Cosby has yet to be charged with a crime, but the court of public opinion has effectively convicted him.
On Friday, he’ll appear in court again, Fox News reported. This time, Cosby will appear for a deposition in a lawsuit brought by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her when she was only 15. The content of that deposition will be private until December. After it’s reviewed, the public may be privy to parts of the testimony.
Timed to coincide with this court appearance, NBC will air a one-hour interview with 29 of Cosby’s alleged victims Friday night. The Dateline NBC special, The Cosby Accusers Speak, is set to air at 9 p.m. and is being led by NBC News correspondent Kate Snow, the AP reported.
For Snow, the special — inspired by New York Magazine‘s article on the comic’s alleged victims — is meant to inspire sexual assault victims to come forward. Many of the woman agreed to participate in the interviews with that goal in mind.
The special will include 29 previously known victims and no new accusers. All of the women who’ve accused Cosby of assault were asked to participate; 27 of them agreed and spent five hours talking about their experiences.
“They didn’t know each other before, and now they are sitting in a room talking about intimate personal details about the allegations. They say there is a power in that.”
Snow remarked that the women were strangers and yet were sharing very intimate, and often quite similar experiences. To connect the dots between their cases, Kate asked questions to the group and prompted a show of hands: how many believed Bill had raped them, or sexually assaulted them, or drugged them, and how many reported their assaults. None of the women raised their hands to that last question.
“I believe it’s healing and it’s cathartic to be able to talk to each other, to look around and be together,” said one woman, Sunni Welles.
Cosby and his representatives didn’t respond to requests to be included in the show.
As for Malcolm-Jamal Warner, his career has moved on since “The Cosby Show.” Warner won a Grammy for his work on Robert Glasper’s “Jesus Children,” is promoting his third album with his band Miles Long, and is currently filming American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, in which Malcom-Jamal plays Simpson’s friend Al “A.C.” Cowlings.
“I grew up with a maniacal obsession with not wanting to be one of those ‘Where Are They Now Kids.’ I feel very blessed to be able to have all of these avenues of expression… to be where I am now and finally at a place where I can let go of that worry about having a life after ‘Cosby.’”
[Photos by Jason Merritt/Getty Images; David A. Smith/Getty Images]